Bulls’ trades forecast a bright future


Graphic Courtesy of Rayna Cheong

David Choi, Sports Contributor

The NBA trade deadline has just ended, and many drastic moves have been made, bringing up many questions, such as where stars Lebron James and Paul George will be heading next year. During this season, the Bulls were active in this years off season and trade deadline.

Prior to the season, the Bulls sent four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and the 16th overall pick (Justin Patton) for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the seventh overall pick (Lauri Markkanen). General manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson believed it was time for change as the Bulls were an average team, sometimes peaking at the eighth seed of the playoffs.

This trade wasn’t well-received by Bulls fans, as Chicago lost Jimmy Butler for three players that were not as valuable as him. Zach LaVine was recovering from a torn ACL, and Chicago has had a bad history of players who’ve dealt with ACL injuries. Kris Dunn was not originally praised as he didn’t impress in his 17.1 minutes per game with the Timberwolves. Even Markkanen was a draft pick that no one was too sure about.

However, its evident that Dunn and Markkanen have become high-caliber players for this young rebuilding Bulls team. Both of these athletes have performed well, with Lauri Markkanen has averaging 15 points and eights rebounds while Kris Dunn has averaged 13 points and six rebounds. LaVine also has played well since his return from the torn ACL. With only about twenty games under his belt he averaged 17 points, three assists, and three rebounds.  

Examining Minnesota’s return for the trade

Jimmy Butler is having another great season, averaging 22 points per game, with five assists and five rebounds. To top things off, Butler was a 2018 All-Star in a competitive Western conference. The 16th overall pick used on Justin Patton has not paid off for now, as he is constantly called up and demoted to the G-League team.

All this begs the question: Who won the trade? At this point, it has to be the Bulls with their young players putting up incredible stats. The team seems to have a bright future.

Nikola Mirotic improved greatly, helping the Bulls achieve an eight-game winning streak earlier this season. He’s been putting up some monstrous numbers with 17 per game and seven rebounds. While the improvement was great, the altercation in October between Mirotic and Portis hurt his chances of staying at the Bulls.

Fortunately, just before the deadline, the Bulls sent off a future second-rounder and Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans for their 2018 first-round pick, Omer Asik and veterans Jameer Nelson and Tony Allen. This trade benefits the Bulls since they will obtain a draft pick in a competitive class.

During the season, the Pelicans lost Demarcus Cousins to a ruptured achilles tendon, which led to the conclusion of his season. To keep their playoff hopes alive, the Pelicans needed a tall and physical sharp-shooter, and they get that in Mirotic.  

Just before the two o’clock deadline, the Bulls traded draft rights for Milovan Rakovic, who hasn’t stepped foot on an NBA court, in return for a young power forward Noah Vonleh and some allocation money. The Bulls win this trade as they lose pretty much nothing for a developing power forward. Vonleh hasn’t really shown much in his time at Portland, but hopefully he will get more minutes in Chicago, proving fans in Portland wrong.

Final Word: As the Bulls obtain more developing young players, hopefully in a couple of years we are assuming these players will develop to their full potential. Noah Vonleh, a physical and sharpshooter from the arc, can fill in the vacant position for a substitute center. With the Bulls lacking a quality small forward, and players like Michael Porter, Jr. and Kevin Knox being in next year’s draft, the future first round pick can be used to draft one of these excellent playmakers.